On August 15, 1998, at 0453 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-181 airplane, N8770C, registered to a private owner and operated by Tomcat Aviation, Inc., of Arlington, Texas, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, following a loss of engine power near Grand Prairie, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal dark night cross-country flight. The private pilot and his two passengers were not injured. The flight originated from Shreveport, Louisiana, and was returning to Arlington, Texas.

During a personal interview conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that he departed Arlington, Texas, for Shreveport, Louisiana, about 1930, the day prior to the accident. The flight time to Shreveport was approximately 1.7 hours, and the aircraft was not fueled while at Shreveport. The pilot further reported that the flight departed about 0300, and while en route to Arlington he got off course and could not reorient himself. He contacted the Fort Worth Flight Service Station (FSS) and requested help in determining his position. The Fort Worth FSS, in coordination with DFW Approach, provided him with "radar vectors to Arlington." The pilot also reported that while at 2,000 feet msl, over Joe Pool Lake, the engine lost power and he was unable to restart it. He initiated a forced landing to Interstate 20's westbound lanes between the Great Southwest Parkway and State Highway 360. During the landing to Interstate 20, he was forced to land on the outside lanes due to a vehicle in the passing lane. During the landing the right wing of the airplane collided with the guardrail.

The pilot reported to a law enforcement officer "that he became low on fuel and attempted to make an emergency landing."

According to the operator, the pilot arrived at the Arlington Airport about 1800 the day before the accident, the airplane was fueled, and it departed for Shreveport about 1900. After the accident, the Hobbs meter showed 4.1 hours since the pilot rented the aircraft.

Examination of the aircraft by an FAA inspector revealed that the right wing's spar was bent, the right main landing gear was separated, and the horizontal stabilizer was damaged. Examination of the fuel system revealed that it had not been compromised, and there was no usable fuel in either fuel tank.

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